Tuca & Bertie revived by Adult Swim following Netflix’s contentious cancellation – The Verge


Ali Wong and Tiffany Haddish are returning for a new season of Tuca & Bertie, set to air on Adult Swim two years after Netflix’s decision to cancel the series.

The network announced on Twitter today that a new season of the animated series, created by former BoJack Horseman producer and artist Lisa Hanawalt, will air in 2021. Adult Swim has ordered 10 episodes, according to The Wrap. The show follows two best friends as they navigate their adult lives, dealing with anxiety, relationship woes, and career struggles.

I’ve been a fan of Adult Swim shows since my teens, so I’m thrilled to bring my beloved fowl to the party and be a new voice for a fresh decade of absurd, irreverent, yet heartwarming adult animation,” Hanawalt told The Wrap.

Tuca & Bertie first premiered on Netflix in May 2019 to rave reviews from critics. Despite the glowing praise the show received, Netflix decided to cancel the show after one season. In a lengthy tweet thread, Hanawalt noted at the time that despite new people still finding the show every day and vocal outpouring of support on social media, “none of this makes a difference to an algorithm.” The implied message seemed to be that viewership numbers weren’t what Netflix needed them to be, so the show wasn’t renewed.

It’s a traditional move for television broadcasters and networks, but cancellations at Netflix still felt like a new phenomenon. Netflix has only pursued original content for around seven years, seriously upping its commitment to developing original series between 2015 and 2016. Netflix’s early development years typically meant that shows could take two seasons to find an audience without worrying about being canceled. BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg (who also acts as a producer on Tuca & Bertie) acknowledged as such in past interviews.

“It was my understanding that that was, at the time, the Netflix model: to give shows time to build,” Bob-Waksberg told the Los Angeles Times in 2019. “It’s a shame that they seem to have moved away from that model.”

BoJack Horseman premiered when there were only a handful of Netflix originals; Tuca & Bertie arrived at a time where a plethora of originals were competing against each other and licensed shows like The Office and Friends for viewers’ attention, all while relying on an algorithm to surface a show on a subscriber’s homepage. Fans also complained that Tuca & Bertie received little to no marketing compared to other shows like The Witcher, and that may have played a part in the low viewership rate.

Regardless, Adult Swim is taking another chance on Tuca & Bertie, but the irony of the move isn’t lost. Netflix has made a name for itself as the streaming service that revives old or canceled shows: Arrested Development, The Killing, Longmire, and Lucifer are just a few. Now, Adult Swim is picking up one of Netflix’s orphaned shows. Similarly, ViacomCBS’s Pop network picked up Netflix’s One Day at a Time after the streamer canceled the series.

Today’s news acts as a reminder: Netflix is encountering and will continue to encounter similar woes that other traditional TV networks face as it grows into a behemoth.

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